Starting under a disruptive cloud of fine volcanic ash, Germany’s triennial construction equipment show, Bauma, ended on an optimistic note in Munich last week. Flight bans reduced the show’s visitor numbers, but global equipment sales are reviving, report exhibitors. “What a difference a year makes,” says Mike DeWalt, director of investor relations at Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill. From fast-falling sales in last year’s first quarter, now “demand for our products is rising,” he says. Last week’s show, held on April 19 to 25, was the biggest-ever Bauma in terms of sheer space, say officials at organizer Messe München GmbH. Braving
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.